According to the Army, Gunnery Sergeant Brady Nichols of Columbus, South Carolina was shot twice in the leg and once in the buttocks before entering the military and being deployed to Iraq.
"That's ridicuolous," says Nichols, whose family is currently paying out-of-pocket for the physical therapy he is undergoing to repair the trauma he says was inflicted on the lower right side of his body in a firefight with insurgents on January 23rd near Baghdad.
"I think I would have remembered being shot in the ass if it had happened before then," Nichols argues, "It's not one of life's little mundanities that you forget about or get mixed up."
In his discharge papers however, the Army contends Nichols' was deactivated as a result of the "sudden re-aggravation of pre-existing injuries concealed from Army medical personnel during the enlistment phase", justifying the denial of veteran medical and disability benefits.
Furthermore, records indicate that Nichols' case isn't an isolated one as thousands more veterans have been caught trying to cheat the government out of money to pay for a wide array of pre-existing physical and mental injuries they claim were sustained in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere.
Commented one anonymous high ranking Army official: "It's a real shame, and you hate to see it, but it happens all the time. Men and women who cleverly concealed their psychosis, blindness, missing limbs, what-have-you during their initial physical exams who suddenly re-discover their conditions on the battlefield after deciding they've had enough and come home with their hands out. Disgraceful."
Interestingly, many former soldiers who have attempted this scam continue the charade even after being caught in the act by the military. Men such as Jon Town, who, after a 107-millimeter rocket detonated against a doorway two feet from his head in Iraq, lost his nerve for fighting and tried to cash in by claiming the symptoms from a pre-existing personality disorder were in fact caused by the explosion.
"I've struggled for the three years since that day with partial deafness, memory loss, depression, and perhaps most of all, the Army, who has refused e my benefits," says Town.
Apparently some people don't know when to give it up.
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